RENTON — Debra Hindman knew about Russell Wilson’s new contract when she arrived at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton on Friday morning.
Many 12s across Snohomish County rejoiced at the news that the Seahawks quarterback, three years into his four-year rookie contract, just inked a four-year extension for a team record of $87.6 million.
But it still paled next to seeing No. 3 in person.
“The electricity at training camp was crazy when he came out on field,” said Hindman, who, when not attending home games with her season tickets, lives in Mill Creek and works for King County’s Juvenile Division.
Wilson’s deal ends speculation that the man who led the Hawks to two Super Bowls in three years would leave the nest early for free agency.
For fans, the news was almost universally good. Hindman, a super-fan who attended both Seahawks Super Bowls, puts her faith in the front office, especially head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
That’s in spite of the fact that $87.6 million is a lot of money when the team operates under a salary cap.
“I’m a little worried, but I’m trusting Pete and John that they know what they’re doing,” Hindman said.
“I’m trusting they can get Kam back in camp and get Bobby Wagner signed,” she said, referring to safety Kam Chancellor, who was a no-show at VMAC Friday, and the linebacker who is still holding out for a deal.
Damon Matz, a fan from Lake Stevens who was a past vice president of the Snohomish County Sea Hawkers booster club, sees a smart business deal in signing Wilson now.
“I think he’s definitely taking one for the team,” Matz said.
Wilson will earn a comparatively small base salary of $700,000 this coming season, plus a $6.4 million signing bonus, according to Sportrac.com, which tracks professional sports contracts.
The supersize paychecks come later, leaving more money for the team to attempt to make a deal with Wagner, Matz said.
Even the down-to-the-wire negotiations don’t faze him.
“Waiting until the last minute: Coach Carroll’s mantra is ingrained in all of our athletes,” Matz said.
One local Seahawks fan has spent some time with Wilson and is excited to see him continue his Seattle career. Brian Hoorn, an assistant football coach at Marysville Pilchuck High School, met Wilson and several other players when the Seahawks invited the Tomahawks to visit practice in October.
Wilson struck Hoorn, 44, as a nice, down-to-earth guy who made a point of interacting with anyone who approached him.
“He’s actually really mellow. He came up and shook everybody’s hand,” Hoorn said.
“He took every picture, shook every hand, answered every question we had. I wish I had asked him about his contract back then. There isn’t anything phony about him. He’s a legit dude doing it for the right reason,” he said.
A Seahawks fan since he was living in Miami in the 1980s —“I was the only kid down in Miami cheering for the Seahawks,” he said — Hoorn said that Wilson’s skill, combined with his involvement in the community, gives him the potential to be a historic local sports star.
Wilson is known for his weekly visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“If you look back at some of those type of people in the community, the Dan Wilsons, Jamie Moyers and Edgars (Martinez), those guys live on long past their playing days because of what they do in the community,” Hoorn said. “He gives you a chance to win every time he steps on the field. You combine that with what he does off the field, I think he has a chance to be the greatest Seattle sports figure the town’s ever seen.”
Wilson’s community service also is a big part of what makes Hawks fan Steve Willits so excited Wilson will remain in Seattle for the foreseeable future.
“I’ve always enjoyed the fact that he does so much for the community,” Willits said. “What he does for Children’s Hospital, you don’t see a lot of players doing that. He’s definitely beneficial to our community and you want guys like that to stick around.”
Willits, 42, has “been a die-hard Seahawks fan since I was 5 years old.” The Brier resident is excited to see that No. 3 will line up behind center in Seattle for, at least, the next four years.
“I know that’s the most important position on the field and keeping him happy and in the mix for the next four years is crucial,” Willits said. “Having a Russell Wilson-type of person, you want to see him stick around.”
Now, like the players, Seahawks fans look to the upcoming season with optimism as Seattle hopes to continue its historic run of success that’s seen the team make it to back-to-back Super Bowls.
Wilson also signed another important document Friday: Debra Hindman’s poster.
“I’ve been trying to get signed for three years and I finally got it signed today,” she said.
She also got safety Earl Thomas to sign her jersey.
“I have this weird thing where I don’t want to ask one player for an autograph when I’m wearing someone else’s jersey. I think it’s disrespectful,” she said.
“I just held the poster over Earl’s jersey so Russell will come over and sign it,” she said.